Have you ever come across a problem at work and thought, we need a system to do that. Well, that's what this course is all about. It's about how you get from that idea in your head to an actual system that helps you accomplish some business process or task. This is the analysis for business systems course. My name is Ken, welcome. In this course, we're going to take on the role of a business analyst. A business analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate, and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies, and information systems. This is kind of a lengthy description from the Institute for Business Analysis and it describes effectively what a business analyst does and what we're going to learn to do in this course. It's a technical description that basically means, a business analysts helps translate requirements from the business owner or a process owner to the system's developers or the IT staff who might be buying or building a system to meet those needs. The BA kind of works as a translator so to speak between the needs of the business and the capabilities of the organization's IT staff. This course is going to emphasize the science and the art of converting ambiguous and contradictory business concepts into business process models. The models must be correct, but also precise enough to be implemented. When I worked with undergraduate students, they often don't like to deal with ambiguity, they like to know that there's a right answer out there. That's not always the case however, as I'm sure most of you know. So, part of being a business analyst is learning to embrace this ambiguity and learning to kind of carve some definition out of the ambiguity and that's what we're going to learn to do in this course. We're going to study critical BA skills such as evaluating your current process, recommending strategic solutions and working with the stakeholders to clarify and document requirements. We'll spend a lot of time discussing requirements in particular. Then in the third module, we'll look at developing process models and data models. These are effectively diagrams that help describe both our current systems and the systems that we wish to implement. Then finally, a large element of all of this is the human side of change. We'll take a look at the concept of organizational readiness and what things you can be doing throughout the implementation of a new system to ensure that it's successful. We're going to use the system's development lifecycle as our primary model to move through the course. We'll begin in plan phase. This is where we take an inefficient process and we make a plan for how to address the inefficiency. During the plan phase we might create certain documents such as calculating the potential financial benefits or value of undertaking a project. We might create a straw-man project plan or define our particular approach. Sometimes, we don't spend enough time identifying exactly what the problem is and so again, in plan phase, we'll talk about tools and techniques for identifying the problem. However, we'll spend most of this course in the analyze phase of the system's development lifecycle. Again, we're going to take on the role of a business analyst. So, we have our BA or business analyst cap on and as you might imagine, based on the title, most of the BA's work comes in the analyze phase. It's during this phase where the BA works with business stakeholders to define requirements for new system as well as draw a process models and data models that might help people build or buy a system that meets those requirements. We'll spend most of our time in this phase. Towards the end of the course, the BA's job however is not done in the design and implement phase. So, towards the end of this course, we'll take a look at the BA's roles in the design phase as well as the business analyst roles in the implementation and maintenance phases of a project. This course is based on a course we teach here at the University of Minnesota to our undergraduates. That course is based on a textbook, Systems Analysis and Design, by Alan Dennis and Company. The book is not required for the Coursera version of this course. However, many of the diagrams that you see in figures and examples come from this textbook. It's not required, but you might find it helpful to have a copy of this textbook. Finally, Business Analysis is a skill. Just like sports or playing a musical instrument, skills only get better if we take the time to practice them. There's only so much we can learn by watching a YouTube video about how to play the violin. Business Analysis is much the same. Throughout the course, you'll have opportunities to essentially draft or practice some of these skills by producing a deliverable. I encourage you to take the time to actually do this. If you're just watching the videos, you're likely not acquiring the skills that you need to be effective in this discipline. So, be sure you take the time to work the problems that we give you. If you don't do this, then you're not truly absorbing the material that we're trying to convey to you. I mentioned, my name is Ken and I'm excited to be teaching this course. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are actually in Computer Science. So, I have more of a technical background. I began my work in the industry in 1996 with a company named Cargill which is one of the largest privately owned companies in the world headquartered here near Minneapolis Minnesota. I also spent time in my career at Microsoft and spent most of my career at a little company called 3M. At 3M, most recently I was responsible for managing a couple of research and development labs where we worked on developing new interactive systems that eventually would make their way into products. It's also interesting as I started teaching at the University of Minnesota about the same time I started my industry career and that was back in 1996 and I think I've taught just about every semester since then here at the University of Minnesota while working in industry. I'm very excited to teach this course and I hope that you'll stay with us through an exciting trip through the systems development lifecycle.